26 episodes

The podcast that helps entrepreneurs succeed by sharing best practice and creating alignment with both customers and investors. Featuring seasoned entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and industry professionals. The Tippy Top helps you learn vicariously - because you simply don't have the time to learn each lesson through the school of hard knocks.

The Tippy Top The Tippy Top

    • Business

The podcast that helps entrepreneurs succeed by sharing best practice and creating alignment with both customers and investors. Featuring seasoned entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and industry professionals. The Tippy Top helps you learn vicariously - because you simply don't have the time to learn each lesson through the school of hard knocks.

    3.5 Annette Petchey on the role of the chair

    3.5 Annette Petchey on the role of the chair

    The chair role is rarely understood yet is so critical to performance of Boards.

    Annette Petchey is my long-standing shining example of what an outstanding chair looks like.

    To help improve start-up outcomes and corporate governance across the UK and globe, Annette kindly agreed to share her wisdom.

    Main topics and learnings:-

    1. Don't chair a business as a good career move or path into retirement:

    1.1. Being a chair is not about you, it's about what you can do for the business.

    1.2. You'll only be a good chair if you're focused on others not your own career.

    1.3. Nobody remembers who the chair was of a successful business and that's the way it should be.

    2. Bad chairs try run the business:

    2.1. Your job is to listen and collate rather than call the shots. Quite different to many director-level corporate roles.

    2.2. The chair's job is to be a critical friend to the CEO, a sounding board and a voice of reason.

    2.3. The chairs role is to represent the interests of the shareholders. This stops your own ego driving unhelpful behaviour.

    2.4. The chair role is demanding enough (4x what the job advert says) without you trying to be CEO.

    3. The boring stuff is important:

    3.1. Everyone loves focusing on the strategy and customer engagement but neglecting the basics could lead to the business' demise.

    3.2. The management accounts and the board pack are the early warnings.

    3.3. Document everything - minutes, actions and especially the outputs from a risk workshop. Those risks could kill the business.

    3.4. Develop an annual board calendar to ensure the board is performing a holistic role with all bases covered.

    X.Bonus chair tips

    X.1. Know when to step down - particularly when you lose enthusiasm or the business needs a different skill-set.

    X.2. Always part as friends.

    You can follow Annette on LinkedIn here

    See you soon,

    Alex @thetippytopblog

    #chair #boards #NED #NXC #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing

    Annette Petchey Bio"My executive career is mostly in financial services, starting in underwriting – which is all about risk assessment - but quickly becoming very commercially-oriented as I was one of the founders of Virgin’s life insurance company. I learned that start-ups have no respect for defined roles: everyone does whatever is needed to get things done, as efficiently as possible, preferably without letting anyone outside know how much effort is going into making everything seem effortless. That, and being able to take a “Ready… Fire!...Aim” approach.By this, I mean: know where you want to go, roughly what you need to do to get there, know and mitigate the significant risks that might stop you; set off; refine as you go along. After that, most of my exec roles have mostly been around businesses that either needed to be turned around, or that had lots of under-developed opportunity. These businesses also involved a lot of stakeholder engagement, so I also became adept at learning what people’s drivers were, and navigating a way to helping them meet their objectives.I have had a non-exec director roles with a variety of organisations across multiple sectors, which I continue to do alongside my executive career. I currently chair a fast-growing Funeral Planning start-up called Distinct and a charity supporting art in the North of England called New Light."

    • 34 min
    3.4 Jess Ratty on PR & branding, crowdfunding, and social media

    3.4 Jess Ratty on PR & branding, crowdfunding, and social media

    PR, social media and crowdfunding finally explained!

    We all know that PR and social media are important.

    But do we really know what good looks like?

    And what can go wrong if we take our eye off the ball?

    Whether you're using it to promote a crowdfunding campaign or drive new business, a proper communications strategy is essential to success.

    If you're looking for pointers, tune into this episode featuring the amazing Jess Ratty a.k.a. Jessification.

    Jess is the Founder and leader of Halo PR and Comms; a creative, bold, future-focused communications agency. Halo works with leaders in technology, deep tech, AI, Low Earth Orbit, deep space, fashion tech, out-of-home, fin tech, entertainment and social transformation industries globally and for the betterment of societies across the world.

    Jess is named BBC Expert Woman & LinkedIn Story of Success. Previously Jess was a key player in the build and development of the UK's largest rewards-based platform, Crowdfunder. Jess' communications trade was learned and honed from a decade of working at The Eden Project in Cornwall. Born social. Jess has worked in the media and communications industry for the last 18 years - inspiring conversations to create widespread transformations.

    Main topics and learnings:-

    1. PR and branding - What great looks like:

    1.1. PR adds trust and credibility. Far more than paid adverts.

    1.2. PR helps you get in front of your customers so they can buy.

    1.3. With PR, think about the overall journey, especially in the context of the ecosystem.

    1.4. PR is one part of your comms strategy - videos, blogs, social.

    1.5. Bad PR - journalists will get to know you. Manage it carefully.

    1.6. PR is about selling you and your reputation, not just selling your product.

    2. Crowdfunding - How to actually bring the crowd:

    2.1. Bringing the crowd is about being human and storytelling. It's not about money, it's about marketing.

    2.2. Crowdfunding done wrong - celebrities and influencers aren't a guarantee of success. Be wary.

    2.3. Crowdfunding is tough work and you need a solid plan. Think about logistics. Do it with passion and gusto!

    2.4. The best crowdfunding campaigns are done by you.

    3. Social media - Learnings from managing 25+ social media accounts:

    3.1. Don't do social for the sake of it! Must have value, must be interesting.

    3.2. Better to have no account than a badly managed account.

    3.3. Knowing your audience really matters.

    3.4. Leverage your employees, they are a big fan base.

    Get in touch with Jess via her Twitter handle @_Jessification_ or Insta or Jess Ratty on LinkedIn.

    See you for the next one soon!

    Alex @thetippytopblog

    #pr #socialmedia #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing

    • 49 min
    3.3 Prateek Sanjay from Foundraisr on investor/customer outreach, drafting amazing copy and documentation best practice

    3.3 Prateek Sanjay from Foundraisr on investor/customer outreach, drafting amazing copy and documentation best practice

    "We have 4 weeks until cash-out, can you invest?"

    There's a fine line between distressed investing and venture capital.

    In both scenarios, the cash may only land 4 weeks before the business runs out of money.

    The fundamental difference with VC is that the conversations probably started 18-24 months prior.

    With distressed, it may have only been 1-2 weeks ago and businesses pay dearly for this.

    If you're looking for solid fundraising advice listen to LinkedIn influencer and founder of Foundraisr, Prateek Sanjay.

    Prateek specialises in helping make people understood in a way that is relevant to people other than them.

    Prateek's journey started in the Wealth Management division at UBS in New York where his role was to ensure client concerns were understood.  Later on it was explaining new M&A department projects to the Board of a EUR 4bn telecoms company. Then at a start-up fundraising consulting firm, Prateek's job was to convert founder notes into something that investors understood. In his subsequent freelance career, Prateek would convert Deeptech language into 'English.' Prateek also spent a considerable amount of time writing grant applications where he translated what scientists and engineers said into normal words that people understood. Finally, working as a sales person at an app development agency, Prateek had to understand what the actual idea was so that the technical and product team could actually build it. Based on his messaging superpowers, Prateek was then asked to write short cold emails to investors to get meetings. No surprises his conversion rates were high and this service is very much in demand so Prateek created Foundraisr to do it full time.

    Main topics and learnings:-

    1. Researching and finding customer or investor names:

    1.1. Need a process to find the financial stability of each customer.

    1.2. Check customer willingness and ability to pay - what have they raised and what for?

    1.3. Investors - check what their convictions are.

    1.4. Use a sniper rifle approach, never a shotgun!

    1.5. Specify the relevance of your offering in the first 2 lines.

    1.6. Beware of niche sectors. Sometimes there's just not enough potential leads.

    1.7. First impressions count - don't reach out too early.

    1.8. Build your contact list 12 months before you need them. Trying to close things quickly sends out a negative signal.

    2. Drafting amazing copy:

    2.1. Prateek's most popular social media posts are time and money saving hacks.

    2.2. Create content that is instantly actionable, insightful and deliver instant results.

    2.3. Deliver value in the first 4 lines, don't wait until later in the post.

    2.4. Best format - half lines of text using bullets and nothing that wraps onto two lines. Must look like classroom notes

    2.5. Content guide:

    2.5.1. 'Desired outcome you will get if you read this.'

    2.5.2. Instructions on what to do.

    2.5.3. Summary.

    2.5.4. Call to conversion - e.g. "let me know in the comments."

    2.6. When doing prospecting, look for buying signals using social listening tools.

    2.7. Social selling is by far the best way to prospect.

    3. Document access and navigation:

    3.1. Use asynchronous communications to save you and investors time. E.g. Place videos, documents, how-to-guide on Journey.io / Google Drive / Trumpet / Sharepoint / Dropbox.

    3.2. Calendly is helpful but meeting time is finite and not everyone can remember every meeting they've had.

    3.3. Make sure your projections are realistic if you're committing them to writing.

    3.4. Stay away from judgemental investors.

    Book a phone call with Prateek via the link on his LinkedIn.

    • 49 min
    3.2 Luke Smith from Forward Partners on getting to market in B2B SaaS, extracting value from your board and fundraising 101

    3.2 Luke Smith from Forward Partners on getting to market in B2B SaaS, extracting value from your board and fundraising 101

    Are you extracting the maximum value from your Board? Do you know how to efficiently go-to-market in B2B SaaS? Are you approaching investors in the best possible manner?

    In Episode 3.2, Luke Smith pulls back the curtain on early stage venture capital and start-ups.

    Luke Smith joined Forward Partners from REV Venture Partners, a corporate VC, where he was responsible for deal origination, investment due diligence and portfolio reporting. He was previously a consultant with the strategy consultancy Oliver Wyman, where he worked across the retail, aviation, healthcare and FMCG sectors. Luke originally planned a career in science and he holds a PhD in biochemistry. His focus at Forward Partners is on sourcing and executing new investments.

    Forward Partners is a UK-focused pre-Seed and Seed fund with cheques from £200k up to c. £2m. They focus on Applied AI, e-commerce and marketplaces, with growing interest in Web3. One of their USPs is their "studio" (operational support) team including developers, product, design, growth and PR experts - almost like a non-profit agency that work on the portfolio. They are publicly listed so there's less pressure on exit timelines.

    Main topics and learnings:-

    1. Getting to market in B2B SaaS:

    1.1. Tier 1 customers take all your time and resources. Perhaps focus your efforts on tier 2s.

    1.2.  When selling to enterprise, understand the stakeholders and what they want. Find the biggest user pain possible because then the internal champion inside the company will move mountains to onboard you.

    1.3. Expect to wait 6 months for a signature and a further 3-6 months for your cash.

    2. Extracting the most from your Board:

    2.1. The Board is there to hold management to account and set the strategic direction. Board meetings are not a reporting session but rather 80% forward looking.

    2.2. Boards should be small at 5-7 people. Find sector experts.

    2.3. Get your Board pack out a week early and cover off initial questions via email. Use the Chair the liaison between management and the Board to keep things optimised.

    2.4. In time, your Seed investors may roll off your Board and cap table. This is normal and healthy.

    3. Fundraising 101:

    3.1. Have a great deck to start with (VCs are quite lazy!). You can start without a deck but that's risky. Do the work and be targeted. Either do good cold inbounds or look for intros. Avoid automated emails.

    3.2. Treat Q&A as an opportunity to build credibility and trust. Make sure you understand who is covering what question.

    3.3. Red flags for investors:

    3.3.1. Worrying inter-founder dynamics.

    3.3.2. Founders with ego or who appear untrustworthy.

    3.3.3. Wildly optimistic forecasts.

    I certainly learned loads from Luke and hope you did too.

    If you'd like to get in touch with Luke, email him on luke@forwardpartners.com or find him on Twitter @LukeSmith402 and Medium with LukeSmith402.

    Speak soon,

    Alex @thetippytopblog

    #boards #b2bsaas #podcast #fundraising #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing #founders #redflags

    • 53 min
    3.1 Raja Skogland from The Visionary Company on investor readiness, building marketplaces and materialising your dreams and ideas

    3.1 Raja Skogland from The Visionary Company on investor readiness, building marketplaces and materialising your dreams and ideas

    ...and we're back with Season 3 of the Tippy Top Podcast!

    If you're an entrepreneur and looking to raise - are you investor ready?

    Do you know what being investor ready actually means?

    This exciting episode features the multi-talented Raja Skogland, founder of The Visionary Company in Norway and investor in 50+ start-ups. Investment banking, community building, creating start-ups, running incubators/accelerators, investing in start-ups and exiting a few, Raja really has done it all. You'll learn that there is little that Raja doesn't know about start-ups.

    Since 2015, Raja has been helping 1,000s of entrepreneurs build their network, gain knowledge, and access capital, to be able to start and successfully grow their company. From 2016 to 2018, she launched and managed thehub.io growing the platform to over 1,200 start-ups and 100,000 unique visitors per year. In 2019, her company launched the first online accelerator for start-ups in the Nordics, which was acquired by TheFactory.no. Later Raja became CEO at TheFactory - awarded best accelerator in the Nordics in 2019, where she was helping founders grow their business and get Investor Ready. Recently Raja started The Visionary Company, where she helps startups gain traction and get Investor Ready, while also helping aspiring angel investors build a portfolio of start-ups.

    Main topics and learnings:-

    1. Investor readiness - what investors want to see:

    1.1. Investor readiness means you have a solid business. It has nothing to do with paperwork.

    1.2. Investors are looking for a solid, sustainable, scalable business that could be profitable one day.

    1.3. Investors want to see traction, a product roadmap, go-to-market strategy, strong team, previous exits, good entrepreneurship Universities, passion, vision, a numbers orientation and a superpower in something like branding or fundraising.

    1.4. Your business must always solve a strong problem!

    1.5. The best resource to get investor ready is an online accelerator.

    2. How to grow a marketplace start-up:

    2.1. Marketplaces are hold to monetise and usually not attractive to most investors.

    2.2. It's much easier to build an offline community first than try build an online market place from scratch.

    2.3. Go niche at first and build loyal customers. Then build the next product iterations alongside them. You don't need to think of everything yourself!

    2.4. Zebra-unicorn 'Head of Growth' people do exist but they cannot solve all of your start-up's problems. Timing is also everything when looking for a resource to help you scale quickly.

    3. Materialising your dreams and ideas - insights from a seasoned coach:

    3.1. Start entrepreneurship as early as possible. Failure is part of the learning process so you need time.

    3.2. You can always go back to your job. Life is short. You will learn loads from your start-up and probably come back at the same position or higher in the company. There's no good reason to not pursue your start-up dream.

    3.3. Coaching helps you step back and get a reality check. Much like a start-up Board.

    3.4. Leave your ego at the door when building your start-up. Keep hungry, keep humble.

    At the end of the day, being investor ready isn't all about investors. It's about being ready as an entrepreneur/team, being ready for your customers, and last but not least, being ready for your investors (because they really just want you to succeed!).

    Thanks for tuning in,

    Alex @thetippytopblog

    #investorready #growth #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups

    • 48 min
    2.10 Joel Palathinkal from Sutton Capital and Alexander Leigh on pitch decks, DEI, and relationships - two-way interview

    2.10 Joel Palathinkal from Sutton Capital and Alexander Leigh on pitch decks, DEI, and relationships - two-way interview

    Why do start-ups fail?

    #1 CB Insights reason: They fail to raise follow-on funding.

    But why? Why do they fail to raise follow-on funding?

    A brilliant engineering interrogative technique taught to me to establish the root cause of problems is the '5 whys.'

    Essentially ask why 5 times, going deeper and deeper until you uncover the real reason.

    So, back to start-ups:

    1. Why do they fail?

    Because they fail to raise follow-on funding?

    2. Why?

    Because they fail to convince investors.

    3. Why?

    Because they usually haven't performed.

    4. Why?

    Because the team is not motivated.

    5. Why?

    Because there is team conflict and the relationships are not working.

    That's of course a hypothetical example but I bet its quite a common one.

    Keen to find out more?

    Tune into this inaugural two-way interview podcast exclusive with Joel and myself to learn how the VC / Start-up industry really works.

    Dr. Joel Palathinkal is a seasoned investor and entrepreneur affiliated with a global network of Single Family Offices, High Net Worth Investors, Endowments, and Venture Capitalists. He's the CEO of Sutton Capital and an LP / Mentor to emerging investment managers. Sutton Capital invests in opportunities focused on Fintech, Real Estate, B2B SaaS, Deep Tech, Space Exploration, Impact Investing, Cleantech, & Climate Change. Early in Joel’s career, he ran technology product innovation in Fintech, Artificial Intelligence, & for the Dept. of Defense. He completed his Ph.D in Modeling & Simulation while he was building flight simulators for the Defense Industry.

    Main topics and learnings:-

    1. What reviewing 100,000+ pitch decks teaches you:

    1.1. First impressions are everything.

    1.2. Use Canva is you don't have a designer.

    1.3. TAM, Team, Traction. In that order.

    1.4. Interview your customers before your VCs do!

    1.5. Solve customer problems now AND look 5-10 years ahead.

    1.6. Less is more. Use infographics.

    1.7. Don't be too creative with the truth.

    1.8. Contact information on page 1!

    1.9. The pitch deck's job is just to pique interest.

    1.10. Don't try sell a piece of old rope. Focus on getting the business right first.

    2. Serving the under-served:

    2.1. All disruptive companies focused on strong customer pains.

    2.2. Under-served markets are untapped markets.

    2.3. Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI) - don't focus negative energy on it. 'Stay on mission.'

    3. Start-ups are built on solid relationships:

    3.1. VC/start-up is a long-term relationship. Your behaviour comes full circle.

    3.2. Post-covid: Don't be transactional. Add value first. Be truly philanthropic.

    3.3. Take time to pick co-founders. Pick people who are different and better than you.

    It's been said that VC / start-up would be loads easier if we didn't have to work with people.

    But it would also be really boring.

    [Good] people are what make the sector so exciting and dynamic.

    So surround yourself with great people and let the good times roll!

    Hit 'like' if you agree.

    Alex @thetippytopblog

    #pitchdecks #relationships #disruption #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing #cofounders #diversity #dei #inclusion

    • 59 min

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